LEED Training Just Got Easier

July 27, 2006

One of the things I try to do in this space is provide you with resources that will help you continue to improve your stewardship of green building so you can train the next generation of green building engineers, architects, building owners, and managers. So, this month, I’m going to put on my salesman’s hat and pitch a truly worthy educational opportunity.

Now, I know it’s the middle of summer and you instinctively don’t appreciate that the “Back to School” sales have started in earnest anymore than your kids do, but there’s always time to learn! I often hear that there isn’t time - or budget - to travel to on-site seminars. But now there’s an easier way to learn about LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), right from your own desktop. The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) new Technical Webinar Series - a program presented in partnership with Buildings - provides knowledge and strategies to help you improve the performance of your existing buildings.

The Technical Webinar Series follows the guidelines that the USGBC developed for ongoing sustainable operations and maintenance practices: the LEED for Existing Buildings green building rating system. Focused on maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts, LEED gives building owners and operators an effective benchmark and verification system for measuring upgrades, improvements, and maintenance over the life of a building. The green rating system has been designed by leading experts in the building industry to promote buildings that are economically profitable, environmentally responsible and healthy, and productive places to live and work. Most importantly, the flexibility of LEED allows you to create operations, maintenance, and upgrade strategies focused on the environmental-performance goals of your building or organization. Certification and re-certification drive long-term savings for buildings and ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment over time.

Many of the requirements for LEED certification can be achieved at low cost by collaborating with the service providers and product manufacturers already working on your building. Most strategies significantly reduce operational costs over the life of a building and pay for themselves many times over. As a result, companies and organizations are finding that they can do well by doing good.

LEED certification showcases your environmental commitment and leadership, creating a draw for potential tenants and sending a strong message to employees and the wider community that you care about their health.

The LEED rating system promotes improved practices in:

  • Exterior building-site maintenance programs.
  • Water and energy use.
  • Environmentally preferred products for cleaning and alterations.
  • Waste-stream management.
  • Indoor environmental air quality.
  • Reducing the environmental impact of a building throughout its functional life-cycle.

However, the financial and economic feasibility of LEED may be the justification your executive management needs to move toward a more sustainable future. 

  • LEED also increases: Asset value.
  • Tenant retention and satisfaction.
  • Shareholder value.
  • Employee satisfaction and morale.
  • Stockholder relations.
  • Return on investment.

In fact, an initial sampling of LEED-certified buildings found an average return on investment of 2.6 years and annual net savings of more than $170,000.

You and your organization can realize benefits through this joint Buildings-USGBC effort to bring training directly to your computer. “LEED for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance” is being offered in four, 90-minute modules in September and October - each for only $99, or all four for $349 (a $50 savings). Each standalone session delivers a unique topic that will offer specific applications and case studies, and provide you with the tools to immediately implement a plan for your facility that will help reduce operating costs, save energy, and create a healthier environment for your building occupants. You’ll also benefit personally: These webinars recognize continuing education credits with AIA/CES, BOMI, and IFMA.

Instructor Tia Heneghan (a registered Professional Engineer [PE] and a LEED-Accredited Professional) has over 25 years of experience in the built environment and has held positions at almost every level of facilities management. Tia brings a pragmatic perspective to greening existing facilities and has worked on both public- and private-sector projects. She was responsible for the first LEED-EB v2.0 certification and the first LEED-EB v2.0 Platinum building, and has worked on more than 10 LEED-EB v2.0 certification efforts.

The schedule for the Technical Webinar Series follows:

  • In “Best Practices for Sustainable Facilities,” Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. EDT, building owners and facility managers will learn:

- Easy first steps to greening their facilities.

-The value of an integrated team.

-How the USGBC LEED rating system can help achieve efficiency and reduce operations and maintenance costs.

-Actions that can bring immediate results and ROI.

-Why professionals should consider LEED registration and the certification process.

  • “In High-Performance Operations,” the second in the series, which will be held Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. EDT, building owners, facility managers, building operating engineers, and energy managers will learn:

-How to build a high-performance facilities organization using LEED as a framework.

-Strategies for continuous monitoring of energy.

-LEED prerequisites and credits that compromise high-performing facilities.

-Case studies of successful facilities.

  • The third module on Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. EDT is “Green Cleaning and Site Management.” Building owners and managers, maintenance managers, grounds staff, and environmental health and safety managers will learn:

-Best practices for managing the facility site, and whole-building maintenance.

-Custodial and site impacts on a healthy workplace.

-The prerequisites and credits that compromise the two modules.

-Case studies that illustrate practical application and successful implementation.

  • The final webinar, entitled “Materials Procurement/Recycling and LEED Program Administration,” will be held Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. EDT. Directed at building owners; purchasing, waste management, recycling program managers; and facility managers, this module will offer:

-Best practices for procurement, waste-stream, and recycling program management.

-Basics of sustainability program management.

-The prerequisites and credits that compromise these two modules.

-Case studies that illustrate successful approaches.

Sustainable design is an enduring change in how we build and operate our community’s infrastructure, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Begin (or continue) your journey in creating lasting, high-performance buildings - right from your desktop. I encourage you to register for LEED for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance at (www.buildings.com/usgbc). So you can enjoy summer now, and get back to learning in the fall ... without the hassle and expense of travel!

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